Mycokemusic.com to shut down July 31.

Coca-Cola Co. said on Tuesday (June 20) it will close its British online music service mycokemusic.com on July 31, after losing market share to Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store.

Mycokemusic launched in Britain in January 2004 and quickly became the biggest online music download service there in brand recognition and sales. But it was overtaken later in the year by iTunes, which launched a dedicated U.K. site in June 2004.

Mycokemusic posted notice of the closure on its Web site on Tuesday. Mycokemusic also sent e-mails to music fans who had registered with the site.

Coca-Cola had positioned the site as a mix of brand promotion and music store.

"In 2004, the digital music scene was just developing and the only way for Coke to offer access to music downloads was to open our own store. That's not true today and there is no need for Coke to continue to run a store," said the statement.

Officials at mycokemusic were not immediately available for comment.

According to data from U.K. market research company XTN, iTunes held a 54 percent share of the British online music market in November 2005. Mycokemusic was in fourth place with a 6 percent share, behind Napster Inc. and Wippit.com.

Mycokemusic is powered by digital music technology company Loudeye Corp.'s European unit OD2, a company co-founded by Peter Gabriel in the late 1990s.

The concept was to let fans use credits, gained via Coke promotions or bought with their credit cards, to purchase songs online from a wide range of artists from both major and independent record labels.

The majority of the songs on the service are in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Audio file format, which is not compatible with the most popular digital music player, Apple's iPod.